The extensive program of major projects in coming years will provide our region with a significant economic boost.
While governments struggle to resolve pressing key issues which underpin the regional economy, they at least have ensured a steady flow of infrastructure funding continues to flow.
A recent Edward River Council workshop highlighted the large amount of money to be spent in the region.
Some of this is for projects that have been developed from the local government merger money and others through the NSW Government Stronger Communities program, from which we continue to see benefit.
We have also seen additional large-scale projects such as the TAFE upgrade and new police station. An important aspect which these have delivered is an injection of confidence in the knowledge these services are likely to play an important long-term role in our community.
We have seen reductions in government services too often; it is vital for regional economies that we see governments expanding their presence, rather than the economic rationalism approach which often sees services and personnel moved to larger centres.
It is important we maintain the momentum gained from the work which has been undertaken in our district, as well as what is proposed.
From Edward River Council’s perspective there is $27 million in works to be sent out for tender. This includes road remediation, sewer works, water and drainage, community building and facility upgrades, CBD and riverfront revitalisation works and rural village projects.
Council will be hoping these are complemented by the Deniliquin Airport expansion, for which it is seeking $20 million in government support.
Regional infrastructure work will also continue through Murray Irrigation Ltd, with another $40 million earmarked for canal upgrades and remediation.
Then we have projects such as the solar farms which will inject a massive $350 million into the regional economy, and perhaps even the long awaited ethanol plant.
Each of these will have a positive impact, creating jobs and generating economic activity.
In combination they have the potential to set strong foundations for our economy and, as a consequence, the regional community, for many years to come.
As governments realise the need to overcome urbanisation and encourage relocation to regional centres, hopefully their injection of infrastructure funding will continue.
It has the potential to present opportunities that we have not seen for many years.